NORMAL — Packages across the globe could soon be delivered by vehicles made in Central Illinois.
Amazon will buy 100,000 electric delivery vans from Rivian, CEO Jeff Bezos announced Thursday, in what the company referred to as "the largest order ever of electric delivery vehicles" — and a big win for Bloomington-Normal, where those vehicles will be manufactured.
"Vans (will start) to deliver packages to customers in 2021," according to an Amazon news release. "Amazon plans to have 10,000 of the new electric vehicles on the road as early as 2022 and all 100,000 vehicles on the road by 2030 — saving 4 million metric tons of carbon per year by 2030."
Bezos announced the order while addressing the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., as part of a broader message about climate change. It follows a $440 million investment by the tech giant in Rivian this year; the vehicle order is separate from that figure, which was first revealed Thursday.
Rivian still plans to get its first vehicles, the R1T pickup and R1S SUV, on the market in 2020. The company also plans to work with Ford Motor Company, which invested $500 million this year, on a vehicle to be made in Norrmal.
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The vans will share the battery, powertrain, controls, electrical network, thermal system and connectivity platform of other Rivian vehicles, but their body, interior, application software and suspension will be different.
Rivian also attracted a $350 million investment from service and logistics business Cox Automotive this month. Officials have not discussed how the fledgling automaker and that company, which runs services including Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book and Manheim Auctions, will interact.
Rivian is overhauling the plant, including the paint line and offices, as part of a planned $40 million-plus investment. The company plans to employ 1,000 in Normal by 2024 and currently has about 130 local workers.